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Former Afghan interpreter: Taliban starting to hunt for relatives

Former Afghan interpreter: Taliban starting to hunt for relatives
Posted at 3:28 PM, Aug 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-20 18:40:13-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A former Afghan interpreter now living in San Diego believes the Taliban have begun to move against the family members of translators.

Ram, who asked his real name not be used, worked as translator for US troops for four years, before emigrating to San Diego under a Special Immigrant Visa in 2016.

“I’m not in a good emotional situation now,” said Ram.

Since the Taliban takeover, he's been constantly on the phone and online with advocates and scared loved ones.

“They're all terrified. They don't know what to do,” said Ram.

Ram's parents and nine siblings live in Kabul. While some of them have worked with the Afghan government and military, none qualify for the Special Immigrant Visa.

Ram says their lives are at risk because they're related to him.

“I feel guilty, I was working with the US military. If God forbid anything happens, I would be responsible. They’re paying for the consequences of my action,” said Ram.

Despite the Taliban's vow not to harass people and to grant amnesty to opponents, Ram says his family has told him the Taliban have begun targeting relatives of Afghan interpreters and others who have worked with the US.

“Taliban have started night operations, going house by house, checking for people,” said Ram.

Ram says neighbors are being recruited to be informants.

“They are asking people if they know anybody who has helped the Americans,” said Ram. “Two or three blocks down from our home, they’ve taken people from homes.”

Ram says several family members have sought help at the French and other embassies, to no avail.

Some have tried to go to the airport, but didn't get far, amid the crowds and Taliban checkpoints.

“Gunfire. Tear gas is going out to control the situation, It’s really hard to take family, especially with kids there,” said Ram.

Ram says he's hoping the US will do more to stabilize the area outside the airport to allow for safe passage.

Meanwhile, Ram can only wait and worry.

“I feel helpless. I feel they will come after my family. That could happen at any moment,” said Ram.

Ram says some family members are trying to apply for an emergency visa from India, anything to ‘get out of Afghanistan'.